By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Hate Cuban for his cussing. For his whining. For his temper. For his stranglehold ownership style. But love him for his commitment. For his charity. For the fact that he's giving away free tickets to a possible Game 7 and, until this week at least, was mellowing with age, marriage and fatherhood.
Don't hate that most basketball fans--Stern included--would like to have Cuban fitted for a straitjacket. Love that the computer geek/basketball freak jokingly--I think--promised to accept the championship trophy from the commish wearing a Speedo.
"I don't care what my lasting legacy is, to anyone except my wife and my daughter," Cuban said to WFAA-Channel 8's Dale Hansen earlier this week. He also said that, if the officiating doesn't improve, he wouldn't hesitate to sell the Mavericks and leave the NBA "in a heartbeat."
And to quote his blog, "Fuck 'em."
As I departed his sprawling backyard and headed for the front door back in 2000, Cuban casually flung a basketball high atop a roof with Spanish tiles, each one likely more expensive than my house. As the ball violently bounced once and then hurtled back toward him, he snagged it in mid-jump like a giddy Little Leaguer catching his first pop fly.
"Yes!!" he said, as if it were his life's biggest achievement to date.
Fine, go ahead. Try to hate Mark Cuban.
But make it quick. Training camp for the 2006-'07 season begins in 90 days.